Amidst all the presumptuous sniping at Coldplay on yesterday’s playlist blog, someone asked me whether the debut Fleet Foxes album had turned up yet. As it happened, I was just working on a review of that record for the issue of Uncut out at the end of May. It is, you’ll be relieved to hear, pretty fine.


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A busy day for new records yesterday, notable I guess for the arrival on a secure internet stream of the new, Eno-produced Coldplay album, plus a bunch of new tracks from Primal Scream, one of which is weirdly reminiscent of Pulp. In perhaps less headline-grabbing news, Black Taj are a couple of guys from Polvo (you can hear the awesome jam, “Fresh Air Traverse”, here), and the Wild Beasts album is lovely.


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I’ve been thinking these past couple of days about the dubious furore that has been brewing around Jay-Z’s headline slot at Glastonbury, thanks in part to Noel Gallagher weighing in on the subject last week. There are a lot of issues about non-exclusivity, festival overkill, pervading fear of mud and so on that have impacted on Glasto ticket sales this year, which I can’t really be bothered to rehash here. What does interest me, though, is the perceived unsuitability of Jay-Z as a headliner of the festival. If he isn’t right for Glastonbury, then what is?


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It can be quite easy to be sceptical about the endless wave of deluxe reissues that come Uncut’s way most weeks: classic, economical albums stretched over two discs, full of variegated b-sides and out-takes that rarely add much to an artist’s story, really. I am, of course, a big enough nerd to get excited about, say, the juggled alternate mix of Love’s “Forever Changes” that arrived recently. But to be honest, listening to this stuff is like watching a good documentary on BBC4; at the end of it, I feel like I know more about an esoteric corner of history, but I hardly need to watch it again.


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If the internet is to be trusted, the guitarist Peter Walker has not played a gig in the UK since 1962. In the interim, he has befriended Karen Dalton, Sandy Bull and Janis Joplin, provided instrumental accompaniment for Dr Timothy Leary’s early LSD experiments, learned the art of raga from Ravi Shankar in the same class as George Harrison, and spent nearly four decades in a truck in Woodstock, chiefly practising flamenco guitar.


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If the internet is to be trusted, the guitarist Peter Walker has not played a gig in the UK since 1962. In the interim, he has befriended Karen Dalton, Sandy Bull and Janis Joplin, provided instrumental accompaniment for Dr Timothy Leary’s early LSD experiments, learned the art of raga from Ravi Shankar in the same class as George Harrison, and spent nearly four decades in a truck in Woodstock, chiefly practising flamenco guitar.


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I'm just playing an old record by the great folk/psych/raga guitarist Peter Walker, who has recently returned to action after nearly 40 years of, as far as I can tell from a quick circuit round the internet, practising flamenco guitar. Amazingly, Walker - one of the few survivors of John Fahey's generation of American primitives, and the man who provided musical accompaniment to Timothy Leary's early experiments - is playing just down the road from me in Dalston, North-East London tonight.


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I’ve just finished reading the second bunch of extracts from Mark E Smith’s autobiography in this morning’s Guardian, and I must confess to being a bit disappointed. I guess “Renegade: The Lives And Tales Of Mark E Smith” could have gone two ways: a dense and profoundly untrustworthy surrealist tract that followed on from those vividly impenetrable things he used to write for NME as Roman Totale back in the ‘80s; or a massively extended Smith rant, the contents of which we’ll be generally familiar with after three decades of admittedly entertaining interviews.


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It’s quite a good time for new bands at the moment in our corner of the world, what with Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes riding a mild wave of critical acclaim in the wake of South By Southwest and so on. To that list we can add White Denim, another hit at SXSW that I’ve already written about here a while back.


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I guess it’s become a cliché over the years that, when a Bristol band affiliated to trip-hop make a comeback, they should be somehow darker, and heavier, as if the magisterial doom that they all conjured up from the start somehow wasn’t enough.


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Editor's Letter

The 32nd Uncut Playlist Of 2014


Such has been the drooling media focus on Kate Bush this week, it might be tough to imagine British music journalists listening to anything else these past few days. I'm not, in fairness, exempt from the hysteria: here's...